Introduction to photography

Starting 1 January 2024 Flexible schedule: week or weekends daytime or evenings

Introduction to Photography

Learn photography in an inspiring environment

  • Learn all the technical and artistic fundamentals of photography
  • Understand your camera functions and handle settings with ease
  • Unlock your imagination and artistic expression

Schedule and pricing

  • Each photo course is comprised of five two-hour sessions
  • Flexible schedule: daytime or evenings weekdays or weekend
  • Schedule your classes directly with Oliver:
  • Valid 12 months
  • CHF 800.-


This course is designed for the beginner who is committed to learning the basics – including anyone who needs a refresher. This course covers all technical and practical aspects of photography for beginners. Just as important as the technical side: artistic expression and your individual approach is part of this course. Homework is assigned to complete for the following session during which it will be reviewed. Remember: no question is stupid. You are here to learn and develop your skills!

What you will learn

  • Camera functions and settings: exposure and ISO, shutter speed and movement, aperture and depth of filed, auto focus settings.
  • Aesthetic fundamentals: Composition: perspective, space and balance, geometry, clarity, design, timing, positioning. Focal length: wide angle, normal, telephoto, vibration, effect of magnification on depth of field. Daylight and ambient lighting: hard and soft sunlight, overcast and diffused light, lowlight, window light, incandescent light.
  • Introduction to portraiture and photographing people: environment, lighting, people in situations, reaction, posing, natural, non-verbal communication, photo-psychology
  • Introduction to street and travel photography: starting out shooting in public, non-verbal communication, visual story telling, practical decisions for street and travel photography
  • Introduction to nature and landscape photography: equipment, daylight, focal length, composition, macro photography, practical decisions for making great landscapes and images of nature


  • Class 1: Camera functions and settings
  • Class 2: Aesthetic fundamentals
  • Class 3: Introduction to portraiture and photographing people
  • Class 4: Introduction to street and travel photography
  • Class 5: Introduction to nature and landscape photography
  • Homework: you put the class topics into practice during your homework assignments, your photographs are reviewed the following class where you’ll be given specific technical, aesthetic and artistic feedback.


  • Oliver O’Hanlon Photography
  • 88 Rue de Saint-Jean, 1201 Geneva
  • 6 minutes walk from Cornavin central railway station or 4 minutes walk from Manor department store
  • Bus 7 stop “Ormeaux” or tram 15 stop “Mercier”

Gift voucher

  • To offer this course as a present you can purchase a gift voucher with this link
  • We can send you an A5 printed gift voucher card in the mail

Student Gallery

What are students saying?

Having been an amateur photographer for a long time, I had taken many albums of amateur photographs. Now an Alumnus of Oliver’s courses I am taking photographs I am genuinely proud to show and really enjoying my photography more than I ever had. The structure of the classroom and the practical courses works well, thanks to Oliver’s, enthusiasm, sense of humor and honest but constructive feedback. While the expanse technical knowledge Oliver shares inspires confidence, his emphasis is always on the creative, using collections famous and more obscure photographers to demonstrate. The themed assignments are fun but challenging to experiment beyond the comfort zone. Having roamed obscure parts of Geneva in a variety of weather conditions, no situation phases me now.

David Welsh Intro., Night & Flash Portrait Workshops & Intermediate Evening Class 2015-2016.

Antia-Collazo-Ageitos Photo Student

I wanted to develop my skills beyond the typical portrait and landscape photography, so I decided to give Oliver's lessons a try. I liked them so much that I repeated not one, but three times, taking a total of three group courses and one set of one-to-one lessons. Oliver takes you one step further and guides you through photography understood as an art, while helping you hone your technical skills. What I most liked about his teaching style is that he pushes you to explore and try out new things in photography that you might not have thought of before. His feedback is, above all, meaningful--very honest and very encouraging at the same time

Antia Collazo Ageitos Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Evening Courses and individual course summer 2016

I had the pleasure of participating in Oliver´s photography course for beginners. The course gave me great knowledge and tools that I can easily apply whenever using my camera. The course was fun and very useful at the same time; Oliver´s approach in teaching photography is motivating since he takes you through important theory through practical examples and entertaining videos. He uses "learning by doing" methodology rather than just lecturing about technical facts. He has an enormous amount of experience in different photography styles and he is very passionate about anything that has to do with photography. Having said that, he gave me very professional feedback on my photos and helped me to understand what was good and what might need improvement. It was very inspiring to learn to understand how basic technical elements like light, framing or shutter speed have such a big impact on a photograph. After the course I started to use my camera much more and it is rewarding to see that I am often happy with the photos I take nowadays!

Krister Ahlberg Beginner Course May-June 2016

My beginner’s course benefitted me a great deal, as I was able to understand the very basics of photography, and practice the homework after each lesson.  Oliver spared no time in sharing his passion for the art of photography with us. The lessons were both informative and fun.  We learnt to photograph portraits, moving images, landscape and street scenes.  We were shown videos about the evolution of photography along with some of the greatest photographers of our times and shared our individual feelings and opinions after each video.  During each lesson, we discussed each other’s homework and welcomed Oliver’s comments and criticism.  I plan to continue Oliver’s courses and will take a series of private lessons before proceeding to the intermediate course in preparation for a historic voyage I will be taking down the Mississippi River later this year.

Raya Meron Introduction Evening Course 2016

There are two things I like most about Oliver's sessions, actually, three: the video clips of photographers from different schools and his knowledgeable explanations at the start of each session; the photo reviews with his feedback (always stirring us up to go beyond the obvious) ...and Oliver's sense of humor and his unassuming way to talk about photography. Photography through Oliver's lessons has become a means of self-expression and engagement with every day life. An observation exercise in which shutter speed or panning, exposure or composition are tools to express your personal view of the world. And one more thing, he has made me discover the power of Black and White.

Laura Chumillas Photo-Walks, Beginner and Intermediate Evening Courses 2015-2016

Doing courses and photo walks with Oliver helped me in many ways. Firstly, it obliged me to get to know my camera and it's various settings. Secondly, having homework to do on a predefined topic (flash, portrait, movement etc.) encouraged me to think about my photos, and knowing that the group would all be there to review each other's work the following week, concentrated the mind wonderfully! Lastly, I benefited from Oliver's knowledge and experience in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.

Gregory McBride Introduction, Intermediate and Advanced Evening Courses 2015-2016

I signed up to this course hoping to get to grips with the technical fundamentals and basic theory of photography, in reality, the course was that and so much more. I found the course's blend of interesting video materials and subsequent discussions to be provocative and engaging, ranging from aesthetic and art historical considerations to social issues surrounding photography. In addition, the significant time and depth spent reviewing our homework each week provided me with the opportunity to develop critical visual skills of my own and others’ work. This, in particular, is a testament to Oliver’s passion and commitment to his students. Each week Oliver’s inimitable (and highly entertaining) teaching style inspired me to go out and develop my own photographic practice. It was an absolute pleasure to participate.

Charlotte Ward Introduction Evening Course 2016

Oliver’s course was incredibly inspiring. Not only he transmits technical knowledge in a fun and engaging way, but also his approach to photography explores different aspects of art in general and personal creative processes. It was a great experience doing Oliver’s workshop, I have now discovered a hobby that I truly love!

Thais Porto Introduction and Intermediate Evening Courses, 2016.

Looking around you, observing, seeing something and wanting to show it the way you feel it. It's not about snapping a camera but talking to people. That's Oliver's course. And it s a lot of fun too! Oliver’s knowledge, his honest feedbacks and expertise do encourage you to explore the art of photography in every possible way: what’s photography? Camera functions and lens. Motion and blur, composition, light. Fully manual mode. Through the vision of videos of great photographers, discussions, homework and review sessions. Oliver, with professionalism and a sense of humour makes you feel  eager to develop your photography. Yes we can! Loved it and i ‘ll sign up to his courses again.

Agnese Spedale Beginner Evening Course 2016

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Oliver O'Hanlon
88 Rue de Saint-Jean
1201 Geneva

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